2004

Rule of Thumb

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.0166  Thursday, 22 January 2004

From:           Hardy M. Cook <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, January 22, 2004
Subject:        Rule of Thumb

Dear SHAKSPEReans:

I have been contemplating an Editor's/Moderator's message for the past
few days regarding list decorum as a number of recent postings seem to
be about members and not about list-related topics.

Instead, let me offer a rule of thumb about submissions.

Messages addressing an individual should be sent to that individual.
Messages sent the list should have an audience greater than one or two
members.

Thanks for your cooperation,
Hardy

_______________________________________________________________
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Purses

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.0165  Thursday, 22 January 2004

[1]     From:   Frank Whigham <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 21 Jan 2004 07:46:40 -0600
        Subj:   Purses

[2]     From:   Kris McDermott <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 21 Jan 2004 10:51:36 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.0149  Purses

[3]     From:   Patrick Dolan <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Thursday, 22 Jan 2004 05:21:14 -0600
        Subj:   Re: SHAKSPER Digest - 20 Jan 2004 to 21 Jan 2004 (#2004-15)



[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Frank Whigham <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 21 Jan 2004 07:46:40 -0600
Subject:        Purses

Cigar or no cigar, one other seed for the force of the purse as
sometimes having a sexual loading is Chaucer's extraordinary use of it
in the epilogue to the Pardoner's Tale (quoted from the LION text):

920        I have relikes and pardon in my male,
921        As faire as any man in Engelond,

941        I rede that our hoste heer shal biginne,
942        For he is most envoluped in sinne.
943        Com forth, sir hoste, and offre first anon,
944        And thou shalt kisse the reliks everichon,
945        Ye, for a grote! unbokel anon thy purs.'

946        'Nay, nay,' quod he, 'than have I Cristes curs!
947        Lat be,' quod he, 'it shal nat be, so theech!
948        Thou woldest make me kisse thyn old breech,
949        And swere it were a relik of a seint,
950        Thogh it were with thy fundement depeint!
951        But by the croys which that seint Eleyne fond,
952        I wolde I hadde thy coillons in myn hond
953        In stede of relikes or of seintuarie;
954        Lat cutte hem of, I wol thee helpe hem carie;
955        They shul be shryned in an hogges tord.'

For many Chaucerians this passage is unmistakably about the Pardoner's
heterodox sexuality.

Frank Whigham

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Kris McDermott <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 21 Jan 2004 10:51:36 EST
Subject: 15.0149  Purses
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.0149  Purses

Lauri Perkins rightly interrogates the purse-metaphor:

 >An interesting thread, but what about Desdemona's reference to her
 >purse?  When she's searching for the handkerchief, she says she had
 >rather lose her purse full of crusados than misplace her husband's gift.

OK, I'll bite -- a gender critic would say that the Early Modern Galenic
same-sex model (which supposes that the male and female genitalia are
inside-out versions of one another) would equate the uterus and scrotum.
  Therefore, if the chief locus of anxiety in "Othello" (and in Othello)
is cuckoldry (= fear that one's children are not one's own), Desdemona
is participating, wittingly or unwittingly, in the dominant metaphor.
In other words, she'd rather be barren (lose or empty her purse/uterus)
than risk Othello's questioning of her fidelity (symbolized by the
handkerchief, which bears red strawberries that, according to long
tradition, symbolize the virginal stains on the marriage sheets), which
translates to the loss of HIS purse/virility/control over his own progeny.

A psychoanalytical critic (and I don't claim to be one) would go
further, and say that the sexualized purse-image reflects BOTH Othello's
and Desdemona's disordered sense of sexual identity; they are two halves
of the same coin (Othello feminized by his race and/or passion and
Desdemona masculinized by her disobedience) and share the same fate,
which is to have Iago attempt (probably successfully) to obliterate
their identities ("Nobody, I myself," "That's he that was Othello").
That's a gross oversimplification of an argument made much more
elegantly by various critics, but I still think it's fair to say that,
in the proper context, Shakespeare as well as other playwrights might
occasionally have exploited the image of a purse to create sexual irony.
  A cigar (pace Prof. Cohen) is indeed often just a cigar, but when
someone like Iago is controlling the metaphors, it's safe to assume that
duplicity abounds.

Laurie notes that the metaphor is less stable in Shakespeare's comedies,
and that's probably so.  But there's a lot of critical work done on the
way Early Modern drama equates external containers (purses, houses, even
books -- Hamlet's tables for instance) with attempts to define or
control identity -- Ian Donaldson examines this in "Jonson's Magic
Houses," for one.  It remains for the taste of the reader to determine
whether any bag or box that appears on stage might also have a bawdy
connotation.

Kris McDermott
Central Michigan University

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Patrick Dolan <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 22 Jan 2004 05:21:14 -0600
Subject:        Re: SHAKSPER Digest - 20 Jan 2004 to 21 Jan 2004 (#2004-15)

On Jan 21, 2004, at 11:00 PM, David Cohen wrote:

 >Could we not say, Occam-wise, that sometimes a cigar is just a cigar?

We could say it. Occam couldn't have, since they didn't have cigars
then. Freud may have said it. On the other hand, Freud died, I believe,
of oral cancer. In his case, the cigars were also the cause of his
death. I don't know if that adds anything to the discussion of purses.

Cheers,
Pat

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
The S H A K S P E R Web Site <http://www.shaksper.net>

DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the
opinions expressed on it are the sole property of the poster, and the
editor assumes no responsibility for them.

Important Changes to the World Shakespeare

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.0163  Thursday, 22 January 2004

From:           D Bloom <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 21 Jan 2004 07:36:24 -0600
Subject: 15.0148 Important Changes to the World Shakespeare
Comment:        RE: SHK 15.0148 Important Changes to the World Shakespeare
Bibliography

Clifford Stetner's "apocalyptic" comment on the idea that the world's
supply of oil and natural gas will run out inside half a century is, I
think, misplaced. On the one hand, I have doubts that it will. On the
other hand, it won't make the slightest difference. The reason why we
continue to run on petroleum is because it is extraordinarily cheap and
has a vast structure of production and delivery in place. Of course, it
also has immense political influence, including (you may not believe
this) the White House! As it becomes too costly it will be replaced by
any one of several energy sources already known, or by another one not
dreamed of yet.

As Calvin Coolidge once said, "The business of America is business,"
that is, "creating necessities and then supplying them to the suckers
for a profit."

Or in the words of an environmentalist friend, "If giant corporations
could control the Sunday, we would have solar power overnight."

Don't throw away your computer just yet.

Cheers,
don

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
The S H A K S P E R Web Site <http://www.shaksper.net>

DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the
opinions expressed on it are the sole property of the poster, and the
editor assumes no responsibility for them.

Shakespeare Blacks and Jews

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.0164  Thursday, 22 January 2004

[1]     From:   Ruth Ross <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 21 Jan 2004 08:20:52 -0500
        Subj:   RE: SHK 15.0146 Shakespeare Blacks and Jews

[2]     From:   Ruth Ross <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 21 Jan 2004 08:42:47 -0500
        Subj:   RE: SHK 15.0146 Shakespeare Blacks and Jews

[3]     From:   Colin Cox <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
        Date:   Wednesday, 21 Jan 2004 11:24:34 -0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.0146 Shakespeare Blacks and Jews


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ruth Ross <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 21 Jan 2004 08:20:52 -0500
Subject: 15.0146 Shakespeare Blacks and Jews
Comment:        RE: SHK 15.0146 Shakespeare Blacks and Jews

I came across an interesting site on the internet entitled Shakespeare
and Race (ed. Catherine M. S. Alexander and Stanley Wells)
http://assets.cambridge.org/0521770467/sample/0521770467WS.pdf  that has
a discussion of Moors/Africans in Elizabethan England. It seems that
there was a Moorish ambassador to Elizabeth's court who was painted in
1600. There was also something called the Barbary Company led by Earls
of Leicester and Warwick, and some merchant adventurers named Tomson who
were in contact with the Barbary Coast from whence Leo Africanus, the
model for Othello, probably hailed. The intro also points out that Iago
is short for Santiago and St.  James was known by Elizabethan audiences
as "St. James the Moor-killer." Anyway, the intro also cites Barbara
Everett's contention that Elizabeth issued a proclamation expelling
"negars and blackamoors" from England (p. 10b). And another site
(http://www.uiowa.edu/~c008g001/handouts/resources/blackamoor.pdf) has
several pictures and a mention of the Moorish ambassador, too.

I can't lay my hands on any other mention of the proclamation expelling
Africans from England or the date, but I'll keep on looking.

Ruth Ross

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ruth Ross <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 21 Jan 2004 08:42:47 -0500
Subject: 15.0146 Shakespeare Blacks and Jews
Comment:        RE: SHK 15.0146 Shakespeare Blacks and Jews

Further research turned up the following from a site called "Black
Presence: Asian and Black History in Britain 1500-1850" at
http://www.pro.gov.uk/pathways/blackhistory/early_times/elizabeth.htm :

"But while Elizabeth may have enjoyed being entertained by Black people,
in the 1590s she tried to expel them from her realm. In 1596 she wrote
to the lord mayors of major cities noting that there were 'of late
divers blackmoores brought into this realm, of which kind of people
there are already here to manie...'. She ordered that 'those kinde of
people should be sente forth of the land'.

Elizabeth made an arrangement for a merchant, Casper van Senden, to
deport Black people from England. In 1596 she licensed him to deport 89
Black people to Spain and Portugal, in exchange for 89 English
prisoners, held in those countries, whom (it is said) he had brought
back to England at his own expense.

No doubt van Senden intended to sell these people. But this was not to
be, because masters of Black workers - who had not been offered
compensation - refused to let them go. In 1601, Elizabeth issued a
further proclamation expressing her 'discontentment by the numbers of
blackamores which are crept into this realm...' and again licensing van
Senden to deport Black people.  It is doubtful whether this second
proclamation was any more successful than the first.

Why this sudden, urgent desire to expel members of England's Black
population? It was more than a commercial transaction pursued by the
queen.  In the 16th century, the ruling classes became increasingly
concerned about poverty and vagrancy, as the feudal system - which, in
theory, had kept everyone in their place - finally broke down. They
feared disorder and social breakdown and, blaming the poor, brought in
poor laws to try to deal with the problem.

In the 1590s the harvests repeatedly failed, bringing hunger, disease
and a rapid increase in poverty and vagrancy. Elizabeth's orders against
Black people were an attempt to blame them for wider social problems.
Her proclamation of 1601 claimed that Black people were 'fostered and
relieved here to the great annoyance of [the queen's] own liege people,
that want the relief, which those people consume'. The proclamation also
stated that 'most of them are infidels, having no understanding of
Christ or his Gospel'.

It may be the case that many (although by no means all) Black people
were Muslims (of North African origin). If so, it seems that the queen
was playing on their difference from Protestant England to assert that
they were not welcome. Whether they were actually more likely to be in
poverty than Whites is much more doubtful. What is clear is that they
were being used as a convenient scapegoat at a time of crisis.

Nor is it probable that Elizabeth's efforts to deport them had much
success.  The historian James Walvin concludes that 'Blacks had become
too securely lodged at various social levels of English society to be
displaced and repatriated.'"

Hope this helps.
Ruth Ross

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Colin Cox <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 21 Jan 2004 11:24:34 -0800
Subject: 15.0146 Shakespeare Blacks and Jews
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.0146 Shakespeare Blacks and Jews

Don Bloom asks:

"Africans had been expelled from England during Shakespeare's time."
Could I have a little more detail on that?"

In the mid 70's (1570's) Elizabeth had a troupe of black musicians and
dancers in her court. She also had a black maidservant. There is a
portrait, by Marcus Gheeraerts the Elder, portraying this group
performing for the court.

In 1596, Elizabeth ordered all the lord mayors of major cities to deport
the Africans. She noted:

'of late divers blackmoores brought into this realm, of which kind of
people there are already here to manie... those kinde of people should
be sente forth of the land'.

The merchant Casper van Senden was given a contract to remove the
Africans from England. He was initially licensed to remove 89 black
people to Portugal and Spain. They were an exchange for the ransom of 89
English prisoners held in Spain. Interestingly, the 'owners' of the
black workers refused to yield them up.

In 1601, Elizabeth again passed an edict. She expressed her . .

"discontentment by the numbers of blackamores which are crept into this
realm..."

Casper van Senden was again contracted to remove the Africans. He seems
to have had little success.

Why did she want the Africans gone? Oh, how times stay the same! The
Africans were being blamed for the bad harvests of the 1590's. This
'newest group of immigrants' were to blame for the rise in vagrancy,
disease and poverty caused by the failing economy; sound familiar?

The 1601 proclamation claimed:

"fostered and relieved here to the great annoyance of her majesties own
liege people, that want the relief, which those people consume".

And here's the capper:

"most of them are infidels, having no understanding of Christ or his
Gospels".

But Africans had become incorporated into too many wealthy households as
maids and servants, musicians and performers to be let go, and so they
remained.

If you recall, James VI, when king of Scotland, had employed an African
to pull the chariot at the celebration of his eldest son's (Henry) birth
in 1594. James had been 'afeard' at the thought of a lion pulling the
chariot and thus gave birth to the rustic scenario employed by
Shakespeare in Midsummer Night's Dream.

-- Colin Cox Artistic Director Will & Company

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
The S H A K S P E R Web Site <http://www.shaksper.net>

DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the
opinions expressed on it are the sole property of the poster, and the
editor assumes no responsibility for them.

Shakespeare for Kids

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.0162  Thursday, 22 January 2004

From:           Martin Steward <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 21 Jan 2004 13:46:46 -0000
Subject: 15.0151 Shakespeare for Kids
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.0151 Shakespeare for Kids

After reading the immortal lines -

"Meanwhile King Claudius was still uptight:
The cause of Hamlet's madness had not come to light."

Don Bloom wonders, "Am I the only one who finds butchered metrics to be
like fingernails on a chalkboard? Do people assume that children are too
stupid to notice the ineptitude? I don't claim to be any Alexander Pope
lisping in verse since infancy, but I have detested such horrors as long
as I can remember."

Yeah, tsk tsk! Like that Edmund Spenser: 6,000 stanzas of The Faerie
Queene, and he manages to cock up the last line in every one of them!

Speaking of whom, Ed Taft observes, "Some people love reading him, but
few before the age of 30 or so."

Few who aren't certifiable nutcases, from what I've seen. (And I went
through the frightening experience of attending a conference that was
full of them. It was as if I'd fallen into some terrifying parallel
universe).

M

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
The S H A K S P E R Web Site <http://www.shaksper.net>

DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the
opinions expressed on it are the sole property of the poster, and the
editor assumes no responsibility for them.

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